Learn how to generate PDF output in RoboHelp. PDFs are great for printing and saving locally for offline use.

What is PDF output

Generating PDF output helps you distribute your project output to millions of users. Adobe PDF or Portable Document Format is a universal file format for viewing, sharing, and printing content. PDFs preserve fonts, images, and layout of content created with different applications and platforms. They are compact, easy to navigate with links, and effective in printing workflows.


You require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF files.

Configure a PDF output preset

The first step in generating the output of a RoboHelp project is to create an output preset and then configure the various settings of the output preset. You can use the following settings to configure a PDF output preset:


Use the following options to specify basic output settings, such as title, output path, language of UI strings, and more.

Title Specify the title for the generated output. This is part of the metadata.

You can use variables in the title. To do so, type Ctrl + 1 and select a variable from the drop-down list, and then press Enter. Note that if you have provided a variable set in the Content tab > Variable Set field, during output generation, the value of the selected variable is picked from the variable set.

Output Path Specify a location for the output. To select a location, click  . 

Ensure that the output path is NOT located inside the project folder. If the output path is inside the project folder, the output generation fails. Also the folder you select should NOT have any content that you need. RoboHelp deletes the contents of the folder before generating the output.

PDF File Specify the name and extension (.pdf) of the output file to be generated. For example, specify Printed_Documentation.pdf.

Language Use the drop-down list to specify a language for the titles of Index, Glossary, and Table of Contents in your output. Specify this setting if you want to change the language specified in project settings.

Post Generation Script To run your custom script after output generation, select the script .js file from the drop-down list. The .js files displayed in the list are from the Scripting folder of your RoboHelp app data.


Use the following options to specify content-related output settings, such as the settings for Table of Contents, index, glossary, and condition expression.

Table Of Contents Use the drop-down list to select the required Table of Contents in your project. Only the topics that are in the selected Table of Contents are displayed in the output. 

The set of files and their references present in the selected Table of Contents appear in the generated output.

Include Table Of Contents Includes the Table of Contents page in your PDF output. Deselect this field to exclude the Table of Contents page from your output. 

Include All Referenced Topics Includes topics that are not part of the Table of Contents but are referenced from topics in the Table of Contents. Select this field to include referenced topics from the PDF.  

Cover Page Click  to select the file that first appears when you view the output.

Include Index Select this setting to include the index page in the output.

Glossary Use the drop-down list to select the glossary to be included in the output. The glossary helps your users to quickly retrieve the relevant terms in your project, with the corresponding definitions.

Condition Expression Use the drop-down list to specify the condition expression for your output. This setting allows you to easily include or exclude content depending on the desired type of output or userbase. Click  to edit the selected condition expression. You can also select None in the drop-down list to not specify any condition expression.

Variable Set Use the drop-down list to specify the variable set to use in this output. In the drop-down list, you can select <Default Variable Set> to use the project's default variable set. Variable sets allow you to implement output-specific use of variables. For example, you can have different variable sets for generating output for customers and internal users.

Include Expanding Text content Select this option to include Expanding Text in your PDF output; otherwise, only the Expanding Title goes into the output. However, the Expanding Text will be shown in the expanded form in the generated PDF.

Include Drop-down Text content Select this option to include Drop-down Text in your PDF output; otherwise, only the Drop-down Title goes into the output. However, the Drop-down text will be displayed in the generated PDF. 


Use the following options to specify details of appearance in your output.

Master Page Use the drop-down list to select the master page for the output you are generating.

Specify separate headers and footers Select this option to specify master pages to assign different headers and footers for Topics, TOC, Index, and Glossary page types in your output.

Each of the Topics, TOC, Index, and Glossary page types can have the following header and footer settings:

  • First Page Specify a master page for the first page.
  • Apply to all <component> pages Select this option to apply the master page chosen for the first page to even and odd pages.
  • Even Pages Specify a master page for the even pages.
  • Odd Pages Specify a master page for the odd pages.
  • Apply to all sections (Available only in Topics drop-down section) Click to apply the settings in the Topics drop-down section to all drop-down sections in the output—TOC, Index, and Glossary.


If you do not select the Specify separate headers and footers field, common header and footer settings from the master page selected in the Master Page field are applied to all pages (Topics, TOC, Index, and Glossary) in your output. 


Use the following options to specify the page size, TOC depth, and page margin settings.

Page Size Use the drop-down list to select a desired page size for your output. You can choose from options such as A4, A3, Letter, and more. You can also select Custom to specify your own page width (in mm) and page height (in mm).

Page Margin Specify the desired page margin in mm. You can specify the page margin for specific sides using the following icons:

 Specify the top page margin.

 Specify the bottom page margin.

 Specify the left page margin.

 Specify the right page margin.

To have equal page margins on all sides of the page, click .

Header Bottom Margin Specify margins (in milimeters) to control the spacing between the header and the body content in the output.

Footer Top Margin Specify margins (in milimeters) to control the spacing between the body content and the footer in the output.


You can publish your output to FTP, SFTP, or File System. To be able to publish your output, first configure a publish profile for the appropriate server type. For more information, see Configure a publish profile for FTP, SFTP, or File System.

After you save the publish profile, RoboHelp displays the profile in the Publish tab. To publish your output, select the appropriate publish profiles and click .

By default, only modified files are published using the chosen publish profiles since the last publish.

To publish all files, select Republish All and click . To view the publish log, in the Output Presets panel, against the appropriate output preset, choose  > View Publish Log.

Generate PDF output

  1. In the authoring window of your project, click the Quick Generate icon  in the upper-right corner of the standard toolbar.

  2. Select a PDF output preset in the Quick Generate dialog box.

  3. To configure the settings, do one of the following:

    • Click the Edit Settings icon  in the Quick Generate dialog box.
    • Click the Output tab at the left side of the Standard toolbar.

    The Output view opens.

  4. In the Output toolbar, click Output Presets. In the Output Presets panel, do one of the following:

    • Double-click the desired PDF output preset.
    • Click the  icon next to the desired output preset and select Edit.
  5. See Configure a PDF output preset to configure the output settings.

  6. To save your settings, click the Save icon  in the upper-left corner of the standard toolbar in the Output view.

  7. Click the Generate Preset icon  in the Output Presets panel. 

    You can then view a progress bar next to the selected output preset in the Output Presets panel. Once the output generation is complete, a Success dialog box is visible at the lower-right corner of the screen. 

    After the output generation is complete, click  in the Output Presets panel to view the output.


    Alternatively, you can generate the output in the authoring window. Click Quick Generate  on the toolbar, select the desired output preset, and click Generate.

    You can then view a progress bar in the Quick Generate dialog box. After the output generation is complete, click  next to the output preset to view the output. In case the output generation failed, click  next to the selected output preset to view the error log.

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